Many, many golfers and Golf Channel viewers have stepped up to send golf balls to Iraq, where soldiers, sailors, Marines and other personnel hit them in their down time to relieve the stress of a difficult 'sometimes disheartening ' mission.
In my column from September 16, I introduced you to Capt. David Sifferd, an Army Reserve chaplain stationed in Iraq. David, an old high school friend of mine, was characteristically thinking of others when he answered an e-mail in which I had asked what he needed over there.
I can really get most everything I need here, David said, except for golf balls. If you run across any groups that might want to donate old used golf balls, could you send me the address? I have a few clubs in my office that I let soldiers use to hit balls into the field behind our headquarters. Problem is that they are usually irretrievable. Great stress relief, though!
I put the word out, and golf responded. Some generous folks e-mailed me to report on their efforts. Heres a tip-of-the-iceberg sample.
I read you article concerning Capt. Sifferd. It was an answer to my wife's prayer. Golf balls all over the place (31 lbs.).They arrived rather quickly in Iraq and Chaplain Sifferd responded with a thank-you letter. John Vener
My friend worked some magic. Between a group of golfers, her husband's hunting buddies, and a bowling league (elderly ladies on fixed incomes, no less), she collected enough donations to mail around 2000 golf balls. What an accomplishment! This eliminated the golf course's collection of old range balls, so we're working now to gather more. My son is also serving in Iraq, so I find it especially comforting and encouraging to see such awesome support from so many segments of our civilian population. Elizabeth Radabaugh
Your article hit home because my son, Lt. Douglas Huttenlocker, just returned from Sather AFB in Baghdad and one of the photos he sent me was him hitting golf balls in the desert while in his Air Force desert uniform. I hope others are doing this for our troops as well. Kudos to you and Capt. Sifferd! John Huttenlocker, North Tonawanda, N.Y.
I have a soldier deployed with [Capt. Sifferd] and forwarded your article to the parents of the other soldier in the picture. What fun to see our guys! I sent them a bucket of balls (and tees) a week or so ago...maybe others will send more. Laurie Weissbrod
Here I am, supposedly a grizzled old soldier, with over 24 years in the Army.and your article put a lump in my throat! You hit Chaplain Sifferds character and mannerisms to a 'tee!' Thank you for helping David take care of these troops out here in harms way. Hooah! Command Sgt. Major Jim Allen,
Camp Victory, Iraq
Ive got 200 balls headed to Captain Sifferd. My son served in Iraq and thank God, came home in one piece. I appreciate what Captain Sifferd and all of our troops do and 200 golf balls is the least that I can do. Thanks. Gary Ward,
I work part time as a ranger at a nearby course and have a five gallon bucket filled with golf balls I've found while making my rounds. My wife keeps asking me what I'm going to do with them. Now I have a perfect place for them. God bless our troops. I'm a Vietnam Vet and know all about stress relief when you're many thousands of miles from home and in harm's way to boot. Bill Monger, Brighton, Mich.
To save shipping costs, I took a bag containing about 20 dozen used golf balls and I threw in an old sand wedge and 7-wood and dropped them off at the local Marine Corps recruiting station. They agreed to send them overseas to their troops in Iraq. In addition, I put one local course in touch with an Army recruiter so that they could donate their used range balls to the troops. The recruiter agreed to pick them up at the course and get them shipped overseas. I think this is a great way to help support the troops regardless of our political beliefs or our feelings about the war. Steve Broome, Eugene, Ore.
Mr. Broome solved the problem of shipping costs, which are daunting to some. But every half dozen counts, so theres no package thats too small. If you choose to go the mail route, however many you choose to send, domestic postage rates apply ' the Army takes over once you get the balls to the U.S.-based Army Post Office (APO). Theres a simple customs form to fill out at the post office.
Heres the address again:
CH (CPT) DAVID SIFFERD
15th PSYOP BN
APO AE 09342
Dave has contacted me a number of times, in between his duties as chaplain, to thank us for the parade of boxes that has crossed his desk. Here's an excerpt from the camp newsletter:
'[F]ollowing the article, people from across the country started sending boxes of used golf balls. We've received more than 40 boxes to date. We've also received clubs and other accessories. Even the non-golfers are getting in on the fun. I've set up some old carpets and rubber tees behind our headquarters and soldiers whack away at the balls every day, hitting them into the empty field behind our headquarters. '
And dont worry, the golf industry is getting into the act, too. The folks at Top-Flite, one of Callaway Golfs brands, quietly sent 800 dozen balls over ' quietly, because they werent seeking publicity, just doing the right thing. I promised not to mention the names of the execs responsible ' but they know who they are.
And thanks to the efforts of so many of you, U.S. and Canadian troops in Iraq and Afghanistan know who you are ' golfers. Which is to say, generous lovers of the greatest sport.
Thanks, and keep up the good workuntil those faraway foursome-mates can come home and pat you on the back themselves.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...
Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).
Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.
It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard
On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...
There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.
He sure looks like the real deal, though.
His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.
Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner
Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2
With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.
He picked up one more No. 2, too.
The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.
In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.
Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.
“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”
Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.
Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.
He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.
Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title
Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.
His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.
“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."
Tom Brady, postgame, on wearing the wrap on his hand: “I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that. It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament.”— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) January 22, 2018
Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.
Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.
Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:
Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)
What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.
Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.
Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.
Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.
Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.
Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:
Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry